Very early in the season it became painfully apparent that this year’s Duke Basketball team lacked any form of a low post presence. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has intelligently opted for a smaller lineup than he has typically had in the past in order to increase his team’s offensive efficiency.
Unfortunately, by having a smaller lineup teams with talented big man have been able to expose Duke defensively. Because of this, the recent emergence of center Marshall Plumlee has been very good news for the Duke Blue Devils and their fans.
Following the footsteps of his two older brothers Miles and Mason, there were a lot of expectations for Marshall Plumlee when he first arrived at Duke almost three years ago. Some people even speculated that Marshall would eventually be the best of the three Plumlee brothers because he is the biggest and supposedly the best rebounder.
The lofty expectations for Marshall Plumlee were soon forgotten when he received a redshirt his freshman season. Part of the reason for the redshirt was there simply would be very little playing time for Marshall because of his two older brothers each playing significant minutes for the Blue Devils. The main reason however was coach K being the great coach that he is, was able to realize that Marshall was simply still too raw and undeveloped of a player to receive any significant playing time for a very competitive Duke team.
During his first season as an active member of the Blue Devils last season Marshall played very sparingly. He typically only played in games that were not very close making the experience he would gain somewhat less valuable. This season, Marshall is beginning to see a little more playing time because of Duke’s desperate need of a low post defender.
Marshall has definitely demonstrated that he has the ability to be more than a capable defender for the Blue Devils. However, His lack of an offensive touch has made playing him consistent minutes very difficult for coach Krzyzewski.
Last week Marshall saw a good chunk of playing time against North Carolina and Syracuse. The reason for this was that both those teams have very skilled big men in James Michael McAdoo for UNC and Rakeem Christmas for Syracuse. No offense to Jabari Parker but he simply is not big enough to stop either of those players; not to mention it is not worth it to Duke to have him guard either player because of the risk of him getting into foul trouble.
Whether or not Marshal Plumlee ever develops into a decent offensive player remains to be seen. In the meantime Blue Devil fans should sit back and rejoice that he is fully accepting of his role on this year’s team, a body in the low post responsible for nothing other than guarding opposing big men and getting rebounds.